THE victory of Santa Clarita residents over a planned gravel-mining pit Tuesday is an object lesson in the value of community leadership and organization. What makes it all the more poignant is how it contrasts with the raw deal the Granada Hills community got the same day in a 30-year extension at the Sunshine Canyon Landfill. How could two similar situations turn out so differently? It all boils down to politics. In both cases, the communities had legitimate health and quality-of-life concerns. Mines and dumps, they argued, just don’t mix with homes and people. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! In Santa Clarita, the elected representatives actually represented the community, waging a war against the mining company, Cemex, and spending $8 million to get the expansion plan scaled down or stop it altogether. The unified face of the community and its elected officials finally wore down Cemex, which announced Tuesday that it would seek a compromise. It’s too early to know that, indeed, a full victory will come from the announcement, but it’s miles from the outcome of the similar situation in Granada Hills. Generations of Los Angeles city and county officials claimed for years to be on the side of the community, which opposed an expansion of the dump and sought its closure. The difference is that while officials were telling residents they recognized their plight, they were actually complicitous in the sellout. On Tuesday, instead of getting good news as Santa Clarita residents did, Granada Hills residents heard that county supervisors had signed off on a deal for the city and county operations to be combined at Sunshine Canyon, something that helps the operator, but does nothing for the community. It’s no consolation, but the two disparate outcomes do serve to illustrate how politics can either help or hurt the public.